Spot the odd plinth out: King George IV, General Sir Napier, Major General Sir Havelock, unknown child on rocking horse.
You guessed it! It’s King George IV, the only statue in Trafalgar Square made out of granite… Not really, it was unknown child on rocking horse. Now occupying the renegade fourth plinth in London’s historic square, the 4.1m bronze sculpture of a boy on a rocking horse was made by artistic duo Elmgreen & Dragset, who opened their address at the National Gallery launch dinner last week with ‘We’re not Gilbert & George’. Working together since 1995, the pair are based between Berlin and London, commenting on the project “It’s up to the public to love or hate it, hopefully not ignore it!”
The fourth plinth project was started in 2005, to give the power back to the people and honour contemporary art within the context of national history. Previous occupants of the plinth include Antony Gormley’s ‘One and Other’ and Marc Quinn’s ‘Alison Lapper Pregnant’, each residing for 18 months. Supported by Boris, Arts Council and fashion house Louis Vuitton, unknown child on rocking horse (not its official name, that’s ‘Giant child on rocking horse’), is a tongue-in-cheek addition to his much, much older surrounding war hero forefathers, leaving viewers wondering if he’ll grow up to be a war hero too, on a real stallion, but presumably we should hope not. Boris commented, “It seems fitting to have such a gleaming talisman to watch over our city during this fantastic Olympic year – it will hopefully bring us luck in the medal tables!” Although considering it’s made of bronze… perhaps we should keep our fingers crossed too.
The project also marks yet another step in Louis Vuitton’s global art endeavours. Over the last few years, the brand have collaborated with Takashi Murakami, Stephen Sprouse, Richard Prince and most recently Yayoi Kusama (see i-D online’s lodown here), as well as running the Young Arts Project this summer – stay tuned for more.
Giant Child on Rocking Horse will remain in Trafalgar Square until 2013, supported by Louis Vuitton.
Text: Sarah Raphael